Horses To Follow » War of Attrition

War of Attrition

Finally, I was mildly surprised that bookmakers extended War Of Attrition’s odds for both the Gold Cup and the King George after Tuesday’s re-scheduled John Durkan Chase. True, Mouse Morris’s 2006 Gold Cup winner didn’t win the race, but he performed more than creditably in defeat.

The ground was far too soft for the son of Presenting, the distance was too sharp, yet he travelled with his customary zest, jumped really well, and was going as well as anything in the race at the fourth last before Noland and The Listener quickened away. Those two rivals probably had their optimum ground and their optimum distance, Noland could be anything and The Listener has proven that he is top class on his day given his conditions, and War Of Attrition finished just seven lengths behind. I would be amazed if Mouse Morris and owner Michael O’Leary were not thrilled with the run.

We know that the ante post markets tend to over-react when a horse wins. (Did Binocular’s win at 1/9 in an egg and spoon race at Haydock really merit the contraction in his Champion Hurdle odds from 6/1 to 7/2?) But they can also over-react to defeats. This performance by War Of Attrition enhanced his claims to the top staying prizes in my view. I expected his King George and Gold Cup odds to be clipped on the back of it, not extended.

Mouse Morris says that the Lexus Chase is the nine-year-old’s most likely target over Christmas. However, if the ground comes up soft or heavy at Leopardstown and good or good to soft at Kempton, surely the King George is a much more viable option. That caveat notwithstanding, the 64/1 that you can get on Betfair about War Of Attrition for the Kempton race is huge.

© The Irish Field, 13th December, 2008